Nederburg Winemakers

Nederburg Winemakers

Niël Groenewald

Managing Director

Niël Groenewald

Managing Director

“I love winemaking as much as I do the business of wine,” says Niël Groenewald, managing director (MD) of Nederburg.

Previously head winemaker for Distell with the immense responsibility of overseeing the production of South Africa’s largest wine portfolio, and before that in a similar position at DGB-owned Bellingham, Niël was appointed to the position of Nederburg MD in early 2019. In this role, he focuses on critical aspects of wine production, as well as wine business and marketing, and is spearheading the evolution of the dynamic Nederburg brand.

Niël holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town and a BSc Hons degree in winemaking from the University of Stellenbosch. He has extensive experience in leading top-performing teams, optimal supply chain management and marketing, honed over years through international exposure to South Africa’s key trading partners. He strongly feels that winemaking alone doesn’t make a successful brand. “Marketing, focus and engagement with the market and industry are just as important.” And that is exactly what he’s doing.

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Lizelle Gerber

Cellarmaster

Lizelle Gerber

Cellarmaster

In her heart, Lizelle Gerber, Nederburg’s new cellarmaster, admits being a bit of an artist – loyal and determined, if not impatient at times, but always a winemaker.

“Every vintage is different, which is why the job is never boring or uninteresting,” she says. “Every year brings the opportunity to create a new artwork with its own personality and charm.” Lizelle obtained her degree in winemaking at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute of Stellenbosch, following a one-year stint with the South African National Defence Force.

She started her winemaking career in 1996 at Zevenwacht but it was her tenure at Avontuur in the early 2000s that consolidated her love for the vine. In between her time at these two estates, Lizelle spent a harvest season in the Alsace region of France, where she gained important early exposure to the international wine industry. She was winemaker at DGB’s Bellingham from 2004, after which she joined Boschendal in August 2006, where she worked for over a decade as its dedicated Méthode Cap Classique and white winemaker before joining Nederburg in August 2019. In her new role, Lizelle oversees the production of Nederburg’s extensively awarded wine portfolio. Reflecting on her own personal development, Lizelle reckons a winemaker should be adaptable and innovative: “Changing trends and technologies keep us on our toes!”

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Samuel Viljoen

Red Winemaker

Samuel Viljoen

Red Winemaker

Samuel Viljoen spent most of his youth far from vineyards – initially in the Kalahari, where his father worked as a dominee (minister) and then in Bredasdorp near the southernmost point of Africa.

After matriculating in 1998, he registered for the Bachelor of Science degree programme at the University of Stellenbosch, specialising in oenology and viticulture. His career path saw him work a three-year stint at Goudini Wines, as well as a harvest at Domaine Serene in Oregon in the USA.

He was appointed as assistant red winemaker at Nederburg in 2007 before his promotion to full responsibility for the division at the Paarl winery seven years later. For him, the passion for his job comes from the social significance of wine. “It gives me such a great feeling when wine lovers tell me about the Nederburg wine they served to announce an engagement, to toast a birthday, to honour old friends or new ones, to celebrate a new job or a rite of passage,” he says. “I feel proud and humbled at the same time.” Focus is also an essential component when you're involved with as many as 30 grape varieties at a time, says Samuel. “You have to be very analytical but also learn to trust your intuition and your taste buds. You need both structure and flexibility.”

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